Table of contents
Discussion About Man
When we say that man is made of soul and body, we express the fact that man does not consist of just dead material, matter, but also of a higher essence which gives life to this matter, or animates it. In actuality, man is made up of three parts consisting of body, soul and spirit. Apostle Paul says, "For the Word of God is quick (alive), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart"(Heb. 4:12).
1. BODY. The body of man was created by "God of the dust of the around" (Gen. 2:7), and therefore belongs to the earth. "For dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return" (Gen. 3:19), it was said to the first man after his fall into sin. In his physical, bodily life, man is not different from any of the other living creatures or animals in satisfying the needs of the body. The needs of the body are various, but in general they all come down to the satisfaction of two basic instincts: 1) the instinct of self-preservation and 2) the instinct of continuing the race.
Both of these instincts were placed by the Creator in the bodily nature of every living creature with a completely understandable and reasonable goal: that they not perish and be destroyed without a trace.
For dealing with the external world, the body of man is equipped with five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, without which man would be completely helpless in the world. This whole apparatus of the human body is extraordinarily complex and most wisely put together, but by itself would be merely a dead machine without motion if the soul did not bring it to life.
2. SOUL. The soul was given by God as the life-giving principle in order to govern the body. In other words, the soul is the life force of man and of every living being; the scientists call it just this: vital life strength.
The animals also have a soul, but it was brought forth from the earth together with the body. "And God said: let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life...great whales, and every living creature that moveth...cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth...after his kind: and it was so" (Gen. 1:20-24).
Only of man is it said that, after the creation of his body from the dust of the earth, the Lord "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). This "breath of life" is the highest function in man, his spirit, by which he is immeasurably higher than all other living beings. Therefore, although the soul of man is in many ways similar to that of animals, still, in its higher part, it incomparably surpasses the souls of animals, thanks to its being joined with the spirit which is from God. The soul of man is the link between the body and spirit, being, as it were, a bridge from the body to the spirit.
All the actions, or more precisely, "movements" of the soul, are so varied and complex, so interconnected, so changeable, and often so difficult to pinpoint, like lightning, that for convenience in distinguishing them, it is acceptable to divide them into three groups: thoughts, feelings and desires. These movements of the soul serve as the subject of the study of the science called psychology.
1. The organ of the body which helps the soul perform mental activity, that is, thought and intellectual work, is the brain.
2. The central organ of feeling is generally considered to be the heart. It is the measure of what is pleasing and not pleasing to us. The heart is naturally considered the center of the life of man, a center in which all that enters the soul from outside is contained, and from which proceeds all that is manifested by the soul to the outside.
3. Man’s desires are controlled by the will, which does not have a physical organ in our body, but for its fulfillment the members of our body are set apart, brought into action by the help of muscles and nerves.
The results of the activity of our mind and feeling, given birth by the heart, manifest one or another kind of influence on the will, and our body carries out one or another action or movement.
In this way, the soul and body are closely bound to one another. The body, with the help of the organs of external senses, relates one or another impression to the soul, and the soul, relying on this impression, in one way or another, governs the body and directs its activity. Because of this bond between body and soul this life is often called by a general term: "psychosomatic life," However, it is still necessary to distinguish between bodily life as being for the satisfaction of the needs of the body, and the life of the soul for the satisfaction of the needs of the soul.
What life of the body consists of has already been discussed. It is in satisfying two major instincts: the instinct of self-preservation and the instinct of preserving the species.
The life of the soul consists in satisfying the needs of the mind, feelings, and will; the soul wishes to acquire knowledge, and to experience one kind of feeling or another.
By the grace of the Holy Spirit the soul in us aquires the following characteristics: 1) fear of God, 2) conscience and 3) thirst for God.
1. Fear of God. This is, of course, not fear in our usual human understanding of the word. This is reverent trembling before the might of God, inextricably tied with unchanging faith in the truth of the existence of God, in the actuality of the existence of God as our Creator, Provider, Saviour, and giver of rewards. All peoples, no matter what level of development they may have had, all had faith in God. Even the ancient writer Cicero, two thousand years before our time, said: "There is not a single people that is so coarse and wild that it has no faith in God, even though it may not know His nature." "From the time," says the scientist Hettinger, "that America and Australia were discovered by Europeans and a multitude of new peoples entered into the history of the world, still his (Cicero’s) words remain unshaken, and have become even more indubitable and more obvious than before. Thus, as many centuries as there are that history can count, so many proofs there are of this truth,"
2. Conscience. The second way in which the Divinely inspired soul is made known in man is conscience. Conscience tells a man what is right and what is not right, what is pleasing to God and what is not pleasing, what he should and what he should not do. It not only tells, but also compels a man to fulfill what it has said, and rewards him with consolation when it is fulfilled or punishes him with pangs of conscience when it is not. Conscience is our internal judge, the guardian of the law of God. It was not in vain that people have called the conscience the "voice of God" in the soul of man.
3. Thirst for God. The third manifestation of the Divinely inspired soul in man is very aptly called "thirst for God" by Bishop Theophan the Recluse. It is inherent in the nature of our soul to seek God. Our soul cannot be satisfied with anything created and earthly. No matter how many and how varied the earthly goods we might have, still we long for something more. This eternal human dissatisfaction, this constant insatiableness, this truly unquenchable thirst demonstrates that our soul possesses a striving for something higher than all that surrounds it in earthly life, for something ideal, as it is often said. Since nothing earthly can quench this thirst in man, the soul of man is restless, not finding any rest for itself until it finds complete satisfaction in God, with Whom the human soul is always striving consciously or unconsciously, to have living communion.
Such are the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in man, which must be the guiding principles in the life of every man: to live in communion with God and to live according to the will of God; to live according to these principles means to fulfill one’s purpose on the earth and to inherit eternal life.